Thursday, April 30, 2009



The moon draws itself up

like a bucket from a well

but there’s still no water.

The gate is shut.

And no one’s home.

So I turn away knowing even if

I take the road back

no one ever returns

the way they came.

You can’t leave

through the same door twice

and even after you’ve said

all that you meant

it’s still not the letter you sent that arrives.

And dragging the lake

for the body of a drowned poet

who went skinny-dipping

alone with the moon

still doesn’t make it the Pierian Spring

even if his death turns out to be

an inspiration.

To wake the sleeping dragon

you must dig deeply enough

to draw fire from the well.

And to speak as if

you could taste the vision

with your eyes,

you must have a tongue like a snake

that listens like a witching wand

to the tang of its own opposites

whispering like waves in a watershed

about a dream they just had

of the same urgent river.

It’s one thing for a star

to extinguish itself in a fury of light

but it’s another

to make it through the night as a human

trying to divine yourself

in your own shadow

by sticking white and black pins

through a voodoo doll

you mistake for a constellation,

an effigy of your creative origins,

the imperious vocables

of the collaborative lie

you call a beginning.

I can sympathize.

I’ve drunk from the same eyes

to the bottom of my skull

until I was as blind

as the sun at midnight

to my own shining

and what had seemed full

was empty.

And how the dead

can wake the living

is even more of a mystery

than the sack of my personal history

I keep shedding like skin

that’s been through enough.

I sluff myself

like phases of the moon

and slide away like a new religion,

more wind on the open sea

than breath in the sail

time keeps taking down

when a wave is as good as a boat.

Look beyond yourself

into what isn’t you

as if you could skip your eyes

like stars out over the sea.

Don’t leave this world

but look at it from the inside as well

as if you were a star at noon

and be mindful of the cup

you’re drinking from

and wash yourself out of it

when you’ve got to the bottom of things.

Like the moon when it bathes

in your eyes, your tears,

in lakes and seas

and every single drop of water

hanging like the cameo of the world

without end or beginning

from every blade of grass

rise from your immersion

without leaving rings.




You ask me unfairly about God

and I say God is formless,

mind is formless;

where’s the distinction?

Two waves of water.

Two mountain walls

of the same valley.

Why get in your own way

and trouble your house

with being and non-being

looking for reasons to exist

you could wear

like those bracelets on your wrist

that cover your scars

like tree-rings around

the dead heartwood

that keeps you standing?

Two eyes. One seeing.

Two wings. One

flight of the bird in the night.

How could the darkness say it?

How could the light?

It’ important not to want

to be impossible.

Listen to your own voice

without words

as if it were the silence in music

ingathering you like the sea

picking up the pearls

of a broken rosary

and stringing them together again like moons

everyone of which in all their moods

reflects your face

on your own effulgent waters.

I can see the stars through your skin

and even though the window’s shut

swaying curtains of blood in the wind

when your heart turns auroral

and burns like the dawn,

morning at midnight

like a rainbow on an oilslick,

a rainbow on a grackle’s neck,

a rainbow on the wing of a dead fly,

or the one you can’t get out of your eye

when you realize you’re not indelible,

that your glaciers run

the same way that watercolours do.

You’re not the ruin of an ancient temple

overgrown by the constellations.

Ask any mother.

Arrival is departure.

So who needs to consult their feet on time

to go anywhere

and where can you go

that you haven’t just left

even if you slash your wrists a thousand times

like jungle vines

to uncover yourself

like an abandoned shrine

what have you severed

that isn’t your own umbilical cord?

And how are you ever

going to pop all the bubbles

in the eyes of the seafoam

that surround you like space

without expanding the place

by releasing the universe

like a wild maenadic bride

every time you blind the hymen of an atom?

Cut yourself as you will

you’re only delivering the moon

by caesarian

from every drop of water,

every drop of blood

every drop of light

you might spill.

Midwife of the moon,

mother of nations,

you can heap yourself

like wounded, straw dolls

on the skeletal pyres

of your riverside cremations

but even the water can’t put you out

when you plunge like a torch

into your own pain

like a junkie that’s just found

the last available vein,

trying to saint clarity

in a voodoo universe.

But listen:

the sea’s been trying to teach you for years

how to endure your own weather

without stars or a teacher to guide you,

and when has the wind ever not

carried you like rain and seed

through your own vastness

without a sail or a sky

to haul you up

or take you down

and yet not once

have you ever fallen on barren gound

even when you snuff yourself panspermically

like a Martian meteorite in Antarctica

when you show up

as you have tonight

like a punctuation mark,

a black period

in a negative starmap

when space turns white

and all your blackholes shine

like something dark and divine

that enters through all your exits,

all your doors and pores

without a sign.




Maculated mirrors in the funeral home parking lot,

serene as eye-water in the presence of the moon.

Spring rain. And the grass greening

as if one colour were truer than another,

the morning sits at a desk

and bends its neck

to look sideways out of a window

still slightly dazed by the hangover of stars

that went a little too far last night.

Soft grey light. Peace in my tears.

I sit in my body like the sea in a diving bell

getting ready to descend

through my own depths

when the bottom of the bucket falls out

like a false eye

and I am unspooled into rivers everywhere

like the serpents of Eden

before they learned to bite.

I confide in myself

like the mysterious innocence of autumn

under the tongue of the spring

like something said off in the wings

among the Chanadoxa and crocuses.

I approach everything like water

overflowing the old grammar

of a forgotten creekbed

with a faster magic than rain

because I’ve got beginnings on my brain

that have pulled me out by the root

like an overclocked tree of pain

the lightning knocked over.

I edge the agony of the stone

until its metals are poured out like a sword

and what the fire has wounded,

the fire heals.

The wine is no longer shaped

by the emptiness of the cup

and beyond the primeval atom,

in the Bulk, in hyperspace

muscled with multidimensional branes

that lift the freeweights of the worlds

up to their shoulders like cosmic bubbles

every thought and anti-thought

nudges a new universe toward nuclearization.

And when one world kisses another

they leave bridges and black holes

all over my auroral skin

like pores I can pass through

like a bird through an open window.

Or I wake up like a waterclock

from one dream to the next

like the hidden grammar

of the first word

and everywhere I look

I am the mystic psychology

of a new physics

that’s lost its mind

in a theory of everything

like a chalice of salt in the sea.

Everywhere worlds roll like water

from the tongues of the tender leaves

waiting like wind and waves

to taste the sails of their flowers.

Everything in existence

is the leftover umbilical cord

of the Great Unmooring

that poured out of its own mind

like boats full of moonlight and rain

or bubbles out of the bay

that each is to itself

until its water breaks

like a tree into bloom

or a man immersed

in the intimate immensities

of a small room.

So now that we’re all out of the womb

where did everyone go?

Or is the addition of one to another

certain to make us lonely?

Or merely another theme

that makes its way

like a snake that just woke up

through the chilly grass

like a thought that unravels

the heater of an idea

like smoke from a cigarette?

I try to mean what I forget

and not seek oblivion in the obvious

but the obvious is not the obvious

and, ah Faustus, why this is oblivion.

Nor are we out of it.

The logical palaces of the salt sea

that has become a graveyard of rivers.

So I swing free of the trend to abide

when everything else is in diaspora

like the tide of the dark-side sea of the moon

that went out once

and kept going.

You can if you wish

see fish swimming through the trees

and collect honey from the stars

just as you would the bees.

Or no less true

to the joy of the white

the spring is full of black brides

whose grief is deepened

by the nurturing light

that is opening the flowers

all around them.

And it’s profound not to confound

a black hole with an eclipse

or mistake the tatoo on your lips

for all there is to say

by drinking an elixir of ink

like black cool aid

as if you’d just downed

a watershed of knowing

and couldn’t handle your liquor.

But I’m not into oilslicks

so I don’t sit here

like the cornerstone

of another spring

that I’ve just laid

like the tarpit of a future library,

drowning tigers like torches at midnight.

It’s clear to me

that everything is already here

and always has been

and that death can never be achieved

by a birth that is a work in progress

so what could ever be fuller

than the moment

just as it is now?

Intelligence isn’t a smudge on clarity

just as a wave is not a cataract

on the eye of the sea

but if all you’ve ever done is see it

may I suggest this spring

as good a time as any

while the stars are reluctant to go

and anxious to stay

to turn the light around,

your feet in the stars,

your head on the ground

and look deeply into the emptiness

until you’ve finally got the eyes to be it?


Monday, April 20, 2009



Writing into the void,

trying to outreach my own words

like Canada geese returning in the spring,

witching for new constellations

under a bell of holy water

the colour of my own third eye

that might make me cry again

like someone newly come

to an old adversity

whose history is written on the rocks

that tel the hearts of the glacially numb,

I recall my past like an old superstition

that no longer believes in me,

knowing there’s no more to the present

than just this carrying away into the carrying away

that is in all things and everywhere the same in all its changes

like water in a well that dreams it’s running.

I listen to the nightstream

as if it were a voice

I had almost forgotten

this far from home,

and I want to reach out

and touch the face of God

as intimately as skin,

but I get lost in the labyrinths

of my own fingerprints

looking for traces of myself

at a crime scene

where I can’t tell

if I’m the victim or the perpetrator

or the scream that edged the knife

that killed me into life.

A man among angels

is a kite among birds

with no one at the other end.

Strange words but resonant

with the unseen tuning fork

of the childhood demon

that grew into whatever I am.

Things just keep coming back to me

like eggs in a nest

that made it through the winter

watching the stars like weak magicians

trying to hatch snow,

but whatever I write

I am never the first to speak

and though my eyes are ripe with visions

I am never enlightened by what it is they seek.

When I was at university

sight was a kind of love

but now that I’ve been thoroughly unschooled

by the tutors of the untutored truth

that unbound me like a boat from the sea

to grow into the island I might be

if I flowed along with the waves,

I seem to depend more upon

a kind of mindlessness to direct me

as if this blindness were just another eye of the light

I have learned to go by like a firely

whose darkness is deeper than night.

And I have been the white cane

of the lighthouse on the rock

that tried to walk on water

like a red sky in the morning

that didn’t take its own warning,

and come down like a mountain into a valley

to fill the ditch my aspiration had dug for me.

But life’s a graverobber

that doesn’t respect death

and my corpse began to sprout

and the dead branch bloomed

and I realized that no matter

how many times I died

my rebirth wasn’t elective

and my grave would always be empty.

There is a voice

beyond what I can hear,

a voice within a voice

like a dark mirror behind the light

that whispers to everyone in their own idiom

so intimately that everyone’s voice

fits them like a face

they stop looking at

and begin to listen to.

The clarity of the mirror

is devoid of a self

so you can see

the profundity of the emptiness

when it’s a bell

or a mermaid casting a spell like a tide

over the undulant sea-swell.

In these depths every echo is motherless

and you must listen with your eyes

and see with your ears

if you want to realize

the original picture-music of the nightstream

that runs like a starless grammar

through everything you can and cannot say.

The silence isn’t just a lack of words.

The darkness isn’t diminished

by its abstention from light.

The white mirror reflects the blossom.

The black mirror, the root.

Truth is bound to the stake of its own heresy

as expression is to identity

and you cannot unsay either

from the straightjackets of their affinity

to set your voice free

from the chrysalis

of their themes and dreams,

turn lead into gold

in the vastness of this hermetic womb

until you spread the maps

you inch along to

like wings

to dry in the midnight sun

of the illuminated dragonfly

that emerges from a bright eclipse within.

You can circumnavigate every single drop

in this infinite ocean of knowing

as if each were an eye of yours;

you can search for years

for things that would bring a window to tears

and ink new tatoos

on both sides of the moon

that keeps flipping through itself like a journal

with a page torn out

and attune every word to the night

as if every string of the guitar in your throat

were keyed to the light

in waves of insight

that wash over you like a shore.

But even a spark is blazing to the blind

whose seeing has realized

there’s nothing to lose,

nothing to find

in the lost and found of their knowing.

Centered in all directions

a true star doesn’t shine to see where it’s going.


Tuesday, April 14, 2009



I’ve always found that it’s easier to be kind when I don’t care because I’m unattached. I’m not manipulating. Attaching strings for the good of the puppet. Without effort or perfection, I practise the generosity of everything that gives here. And everything gives. Without meaning. No giver. No recipient. Like a star. A gift. Light everywhere. Illuminating itself in what it reveals. Is anyone pleased? The fools make meteors of the cornerstones of joy and despise peace as the merest of consolations for their chronic unhappiness at never having made much of an impact anywhere. Dinosaurs. Let them knock themselves out. A coma’s as good as inspiration to a rock. And there’s never been an original point to anything. It’s all just talk. Seeding the sea with sand. Making a priest of the worm in the rose. Is it still morning if you don’t wake up? Or is something always missing?

      Stupid thoughts. Angry. Though I don’t know at what. If I didn’t let them up they wouldn’t let me down and neither me nor my soiled shadow would be advanced or disappointed. But I don’t slip a rudder in the river like a letter that knows where it’s going, and there isn’t the single blossom of a sail that I’ll take down just because the wind is blowing. I’m not the doing or the undoing of myself. When I sit still, the wind moves. When I move the wind is a rock. It’s that way with every breath, every death I take. Illusion is meaningless. Reality is meaningless. There are no oceans to cross between one dewdrop and the next. And time doesn’t give birth to anything so there’s no need to make a rosary of full moons and count the number of springs and autumns I have left to live, if that. Why school the unborn in the lessons of perishing when nothing can be taken out of context? I don’t look out upon the world, the beginning of the universe in atom or word, the history of being and not being this mystery of seeing that is neither wise nor absurd, and think that God misquoted me. I’ve never been a hidden secret that wanted to know myself because there’s never been anyone else to keep the secret from. So the silence talks all day long like a drunkard that doesn’t know when to stop. And when I really want to get down to the bottom of things, I drink the wine. And then I drink the cup.


Monday, April 13, 2009



No entrance to the mind.

No entrance to space.

What needs to open

when you’re the gateless gate?

Don’t think of yourself as a thing.

Don’t attribute form to the formless.

Don’t assume there’s a little person

the size of your thumb

mired in your brainmud

like an understudy of you

that you can consult like a script

when you forget your lines.

Reality isn’t impersonating you.

There may be a play going on

but there’s no actor

and everything is making itself up

as it goes along,

spontaneously improvising itself

out of circumstances and events.

But you’re not the play, the player,

or the expletive audience.

Not the theatre of the abyss

in which all this occurs

nor the confluent weaving of themes

into a recognizable resolution.

And there’s nothing wrong

with making constellations out of fireflies

and following them

as if they were reliable guides.

Anyone of them will lead you home

as long as you realize you’ve never left

and every step of the way

is the long road of a narrow threshold

that can’t be crossed.

Right now, you’re like a mirage,

supple palms and undulant water

trying to get down to its roots,

trying to discover the truth of yourself

in broken pots and noseless statuettes,

and the skulls of those whose thirst for life

believed in you until they discovered

that you were rooted in the air.

Have you ever considered

what you owe to the desert

that sustains the illusion?

And when you get right down to it

why pretend you’re the child

of clarity and confusion

when you know in your depthless depths

that no one’s there

to be confused or clarified?

You don’t need to sweep

dead stars off

your stairs and windowsills,

or mirages from the desert,

illusions and truths from your mind,

the northern lights from the sky,

or stand under a tree

collecting bird feathers

to learn how to fly

when you’re already the freedom

they fly through.

And in or out of the egg,

it’s the same, vast, tranformative view

and when you remember to realize

that no one’s there to see it,

that what’s left

is not what’s left of you,

that you have no origin or end

there’s nothing to wound,

nothing to mend.




anymore than you can abandon space

or pry the universe out of the universe like an eye

from a skull or a ring

to save it from seeing itself

as it runs everywhere away in all directions

fleeing what’s centred in you.

You’re not the residue,

the lees of the Big Bang

trying to scry your fate

out of your own detritus,

chemical compliance

with a spiked alliance

in an area of local cooling.

Whether you think

you’re getting a little too much ahead of yourself

or falling far behind,

you’re still the Primordial Atom

before and after time

flashing out of the void

and returning to yourself

like a thief coming and going

through your own window.

And there isn’t a now

that yesterday and tomorrow

could ever track down like today

that isn’t eternal,

that isn’t an undefineable field

where there is no birth or death

or labour of stars on the nightshift

pouring you out like metal from a stone

that isn’t as intimate as oxygen

with every breath you take

to construe the world before you.

What have you seen or been or smelt or felt and thought

that wasn’t your own mind?

And if you were no one

before you were you

how can there be two,

let alone one?

What could outside and inside

mean or be

except the distance

between a wave and the sea?

How could any sword, word, world that arises

slay the water or wound the sky

when you’re the deep, dark watershed mother

of the original fountain

pouring yourself into your own mouth like the moon?

You parse your wholeness

into the things of the world

to define yourself

to the imperial rhetoric of a chatty brain

in a language of forms

who can’t know who you are

until you know with or without a doubt

what you are not.

You’re all of these things.

You’re none of these things.

Listen. The moon’s wearing earrings

that play like rain on the wind

and everywhere she catches the trees’ attention

like water longing to spill

into the empty seas she sails alone.

And her deserts are not the urns of the stars.


Wednesday, April 8, 2009


The night me when the shadows

get to advance on their own

without the handwriting of the light

to divide them

moves deeper alone

into the boundless intimacy

within and without

of a yielding abyss

where you can always tell time

by the smoke of burning leaves

and everything, even the most banal,

is charged with a sense of secrecy

like an injured bell.

The spooling and uncoiling of the nightstreams

follow their own life-themes through the darkness

like distant train whistles in the rain

or geese returning in the spring high overhead.

And I am tempered by the sorrow of my own abeyance

like a window that’s been true to too many eyes

who’ve never known beauty

without longing and lies.

And the ashes are not old

and the fire is not new

and nothing is abandoned

like a ghost with a point of view.

The fountain returns

to the watersheds of its awareness

and I’m walking on the stars that schooled me

like a truant road to read maps between the life-lines

on the palm of my hand.

No beginning, no end,

I don’t think of the wind

as a streetcleaner

and vaster than the sublime

and I am what happens to time.




The old world that is always here

because it is always passing

is everywhere confronted

by its own malignant children

ferociously abusing their legacy.

Genocidal Israelis whose hatred rains down

like jellyfish tentacles of white phosphorus

on the heads of the children of Gaza,

lethal Medusas of snakefire

falling like some paranoid, old-testament vengeance,

Dead Sea deep in blood and corpses,

spin their own atocities into

press-worthy innocence,

and declare the collateral coffins

of their obscene abomination

a closed investigation.

The hysteria of nations is written in bones

and the short-term memory-cards of their cellphones

downloading indictable albums

of slaughtered children.

And I still can’t believe it,

Beshir, the bowling-ball Butcher of Sudan,

a plague in the form of a man,

leeching and cauterizing

the open wound he has gouged

in the eyes, the heart, the flesh of Darfur,

indicted for killing, rape, torture, starvation,

indicted for squandering the lives of millions,

can you believe it, after all

the Palestinians have suffered,

after all the death and wounding the Iraqis and Afghanis

have learned to live around and through,

and the grief, the irreconcilable grief

that even a god hesitates to answer,

this corpse-tree of a man

hung with the bodies

of hundreds of thousands of people

like his self-appointed medals

until even murder begins to feel ridiculous,

this blood-brained clown of catastrophe

embraced by the Arab Summit!

And even though these things I say are true,

it’s hard to be a North American these days,

even when you are speaking the truth

without feeling hypocritical cold-sores

all over your own lips

as your blood thickens

trying to congeal the haemmorage of Iraq,

knowing you’ve been spoiled by war-movies.

If you eat enough eventually you’ll starve the world,

and yesterday’s captains of industry

will turn into the hydra-headed cartels

of the decapitating narcoeconomics of Mexico

and North American pharmaceuticals

warring over the Land of the Lotus-Eaters

for a market share,

not to mention the undead

who are eaten alive by the golden maggots

of our own egg-laying banks

who will never turn into butterflies.

An elitely-educated Canadian

with health-care,

I’ve written books about it all,

I’ve tatooed my voice

with the Holocaust, Palestine, Chile, Oka,

I once compiled an encyclopedia

of twentieth century genocides,

just to scream murder

when I saw murder being done

trying to transform

the alchemical empathy and compassion

of my mystic hermetical mind,

Hermes Trismegistus,

looking for seed-words like the wind

it could plant in flesh and blood

like cool herbs on the agony of a burn.

This is how I know

my mother lives within me,

and more, how I strive Sisypheanly

with the guilt of being born poor

in a prosperous country

while so many others

have been denied the chance.

And I suspect,

for the last half-century,

I’ve been trying to prove against proof,

answering my B.C. upstream salmon-nature,

my humanity isn’t just another mode of rabies

in a rainbow-coloured straitjacket,

that words might still have the power

to move atoms like spiritual streetsigns,

to jump from one opposite to the other,

either way, like a bridge

and see that it stands on both,

straddling both banks of the lifestream,

above and below. Passage. And if words

are only the scent of smoke

to someone lost in the woods deep at night,

isn’t that enough reason to go on burning,

flaring like a match in autumn under the leaves,

or brick by brick, building a lighthouse

that could hold itself up

like a candle to the stars

and illuminate them all

by reading the writing on the wall?

Our ends are a kind of amends

our beginnings make

for existence

if the whole of our common concern

is not to love the all

in the each of one another

for our own sake.

You’re not a saint

if you put your hand in the fire

and it doesn’t burn,

and you’re not a sinner

if it does.

And that’s all interesting enough,

and it feels clarifying and affirmative to say it

as if I were mouthing flowers like a field

that echo sidereally

through the caves of the sky

and in the deepest wells of my longing

where the strangers come to drink

there were real water

in this mindstream

that flows unseen through the night

like a homeless light

weeping over them like words

as if words could turn into rain.

But no more than your eyes

have an agenda

of what they intend to see

does your brain urge you purposively

to become what you must be;

nor having any purpose,

evolve you randomly.

And so you move like water

through all the stations of the sky

through progressively rarer mediums

of time and space and spirit and blood,

imagination and thought,

all waves of the same sea of awareness

until you are all sails and no wind

on the dark side of the moon,

a lightning-rod in the Sahara

trying to conjure clouds

above an empty tent.

And though you can’t explain the event,

by the occasional grace

of something you never meant,

or could foresee happening,

you cry out in the wholeness

of your insignificance

to ease someone else’s pain

and drop by drop

even here where I am now

it begins to rain.

And that’s all that keeps me going

when I look upon the prevalence of human peversity

through a lifetime of anger and sadness and unknowing,

and ask if there’s anything left to be

that isn’t hypocritical or desecrated,

and think that it’s a terrible arrogance

in an abyss of ignorance beyond me

to console my life with a meaning

that wasn’t just another leaf on the stream

or the coils of a serpent with ideas

that wanted to swallow the planet whole

when the silence in my mouth

tastes like the acrid frequency

of a child’s star-shattering scream.

And how easy it would be

to bluff my way out of this world

into another where I don’t exist

unless I’ve got my hands over my eyes

while everyone’s running to hide,

but I remember a moment so now

it was timeless a long time ago

by the side of a backwoods road

that could have led me anywhere

when I saw the clean leaves

and the matted wildflowers

and the grass of the fields

shining in the golden light of sunset

over the abandoned ark of a farm

after the storm.